08 June 2008

Big Love

I go to kind of a wacky church. It isn't Bible-based, though sometimes we use the Bible. It is Christian, though not Jesus-died-for-your-sins Christian. Maybe it's not that Christian. Or maybe we're just open to other faith traditions. We are not a dogmatic church.

I was saying to my prayer minister, M., the other day, that I thought no one would have a problem if someone came to our church and said "I don't believe any of this crap, but I want to come here."

"Of course," she said.

It's THAT kind of church.

I tend to take it kind of lightly. It doesn't seem like a Big Deal.

But today our minister gave a talk about her brother, who is dying of Lou Gehrig's disease at age 50.

She grew up in our church and, because of the philosophy, tends to put a positive spin on everything. She made it almost all the way through the talk, telling about the Important Lessons everyone was learning - live each day to its fullest, etc etc. The usual.

But toward the end, she started reading something from her brother's book, a quote from Thomas Sugrue from "There is a River," and when she got the last line, which says "And when you rest, let Him hold you. When you reach out, touch his hand and then put your arm around a friend."

She got to "when you rest" and then stopped. We could all feel her emotion and suddenly everyone was praying for her. No one said anything but it was palpable. We were all praying for her strength and crying.

After the service, I was manning the bookstore. Ok, it is a table, but it is the only place we sell books, so it is our "bookstore."

I looked up at everyone talking and having snacks and suddenly I realized "This is my spiritual family" and I loved them all, each one in their own way.

I knew to the depths of my being that these people want the best for me. They want me to be healthy and happy and loved and loving and at peace.

What if we don't have a dogma or a creed? What if we can't call ourselves a denomination like Presbyterian or Lutheran, but instead say we are "students"?

Healthy and happy and loved and loving and at peace. That's a good enough religion for me.


MsLittlePea said...

I heart your church. I wish I could find a church like that to go to. I stopped going a couple years ago because of some bitter feelings I began to have towards established religion((cue echo)). If only I could find a place like that where I felt I was part of a spiritual community. I'm looking around though. Oh and I love that the minister is a woman.

mothergoosemouse said...

That's the sort of place where even I would feel at home.

(My HS advisor died of ALS when I was in college. Such a tragic disease - mind still sharp, body continually weakening.)

super des said...

I always thought that church was supposed to be a place of bonding, but instead I've found that it is normally a place to learn how to convince people you are right and / or be against them if they have different views.

I'm glad your church is different.

Suzanne said...

I think it is exactly what religion should be. A place for comfort and love. It is so wonderful that such a place exists, and that you are part of it.

Andrea said...

The complete acceptance of somewhere even kind of affiliated with spirituality and faith is awesome, for lack of a more stunning word. I would love to find a place like that in my area.

SUEB0B said...

FYI - My church is Unity, and they are all over the place. Religious Science (Science of Mind, NOT Christian Science) has much the same kind of philosophy. And there is always the Unitarian Universalists, who don't really talk about God, but who do form a spiritual home AND do a lot of social justice work.

Karen said...

That sounds like a wonderful church :) It's always a challenge to find a place where you feel completely comfortable---I'm still looking for one that suits my beliefs, but I think it's out there! Glad you've found such a great place :)

Major Bedhead said...

The Quakers are like that, too. At least the Quaker church I was raised in was like that. No dogma. No minister, even. Just stillness and community and worship, however and whoever you felt like worshiping.

Working Girl said...

I was raised in Unity by a Unity minister. I'm happy you're happy there -- because I know you're great. But, maybe because I was the preacher's daughter, I had to leave it behind.

Laura-Marie said...

I work at my church's bookstore too.

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